Tuesday, September 1, 2009

North Korean Restaurant Run by the Chinese Government and North Korean Restaurant Run by the North Korean Government in Dandong

The Yalu River with North Korea on the Other Side

There is a plethora of Korean restaurants around Northeast China, especially in Dandong, a China-North Korea border town. This city is not what I imagined in my mind. The area is beautiful with rolling, green hills and picturesque, agrarian land along the Yalu River, dotted with Chinese and North Korean islands.

North Korea on the Left of the Yalu River and in the Foreground, China on the Right;
The "Friendship Bridge" between China and North Korea
The Great Wall on Tiger Mountain; Me on the Great Wall with North Korea in the Background
My first attempt at experiencing North Korean food left me cold. It was a Chinese government-run North Korean restaurant. The food was sub-par, the restaurant was dirty, and someone vomitted right in front of me. Can it get any worse?


Stir-fried Chinese Brocolli Stem; "BBQ Beef" that tasted neither like BBQ nor Beef
I really had doubts about trying another North Korean restaurant, but I couldn't let this Chinese version stop me from tasting North Korean food at a North Korean-run restaurant!

A Stage for Banquets with a Garland of Chinese and North Korean Flags

Boy was I glad I didn't give up on finding another North Korean restaurant. The waitresses were all North Korean and the menu had both Korean and Chinese. We ordered cold beef noodles, BBQ beef, and pan-fried tofu. The food was pleasantly light, even the BBQ beef, which came with fresh lettuce and cucumbers for refreshing wraps. The cold noodles were absolutely delicious. I definitely want to try to replicate it when I return to the states. The thin slices of Korean pear gave the dish a gentle sweet and crunchy accent that I find quite artful. My friend told me that the cold beef broth needed more body. I think a homemade version will do the trick!

Spicy Pickled Radishes

Cold Noodles-with eggs, cucumbers, beef, ginger, and pears in a beef broth

Pan-fried Tofu; BBQ Beef with Lettuce, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, and Garlic

1 comment:

  1. OK, that first experience with North Korean food made me giggle, a lot. I don't think it could get much worse than that!

    But the idea of adding pears to cold noodles - total genius! Glad you went back.